Monday, 20 August 2007

PM Lee's NDR Speech 2007 - My Feelings

I used to listen to every one of MM Lee Kuan Yew's NDR speeches when he was the PM and each time I could not help but praise him. Every one of his speeches drove something into my heart. I believed in him. I trusted in what he said. Tonight I saw him sitting right in front, facing his own son and watching very enthusiastically and anxiously. He looked very healthy and more alert than SM Goh. I think he may outlive his own sons.

I have listened to every one of SM Goh Chok Tong's NDR speeches when he was the PM, from 1990 to 2004, and most of the time I was entertained by his jokes but put off by his name-callings and branding of his own fellow citizens, but I had looked forward to what he had promised us, e.g. the "Swiss Standard of Living", "More Good Years", "Fun City", "Gracious Living", "Retire Graciously", "World Cup 2010", etc. I believed in him but he let us down on several promises, especially the "Swiss Standard of Living" . Tonight I saw him there, sitting next to MM Lee, looking very old and haggard. I think it is time that he retires for his own good. What is the use of accumulating so much wealth? I think he already has too many peanuts to count together with his quick-witted wife.

I listened to PM Lee Hsien Loong's maiden speech in 2004 but, halfway through, I gave up and went to sleep. Nevertheless, I specifically remembered what he said about giving us a more open society. Then within the next two to three years what we knew was that political pod casting was banned, political websites had to be licensed, students were charged under the Sedition Act for "stirring up racial hatred" in the cyberspace, Mr Brown was given a thrashing, and 18 new laws and amendments were passed in Parliament to tighten the noose even tighter on freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, the Penal Code was amended, the Constitution was also amended, and last but not least, one NCMP was aggressively and mercilessly censured in Parliament for trying to stir up a "conspiracy theory" which she obviously, to me, was not trying to do so.

As I had not been impressed by his maiden speech in 2004, I did not listen to his 2nd and 3rd speeches in 2005 and 2006 respectively, though I did briefly read the written texts in the next day's newspapers. They had never made any impact upon my heart nor my mind. I knew he was trying his best, but I simply could not connect with him. I didn't know why then.

Tonight I listened to both his Mandarin and English speeches. I was impressed and inspired by the elaborate plans he put forth regarding the new CPF adjustments catering for old age and retirement, new legislation for re-employment of older workers, redevelopment of old HDB estates and Ponggol 21 Plus, the increase in university intakes by 30%, and the building of a 4th University or may be also a 5th. On the whole, it looked good on the surface. However, I still felt that something was missing. My gut feeling told me that something very important was missing. What is it?

The software!

All that he had said, putting so much efforts and emphasis, all boils down to mere hardware. I cannot blame him. He is a technocrat brought up with a golden spoon and silver linings, smooth sailing all the time, except for his brief fight with cancer and the untimely death of his first wife. He simply does not have that software, the multiplier, the X factor in him. Though I saw him nearly came down with tears three times, when his emotion pushed up to his head while something that he said had obviously hit hard into his inner self, his psyche, or his conscience, he was still not able to connect with me. I also saw him looking straight towards the direction where his father was sitting. Perhaps that was the trigger that caused his emotion to rise. I guess there must be something that is hidden inside him. Something that he could not simply throw out because of his status and stature. I had wished that he could confide with me and I would gladly help him ease and release his pain forever. He is human after all.

I pity him. I empathise with him. His job is not easy. Being sandwiched between his own knuckle-duster father and the present sad state of affair that the country is facing (i.e. the predicaments being faced by most of the common folks, the lower and the middle income groups and the jobless), yet he has to pretend that everything is going so well. I think it is not easy for him to bear such a heavy weight upon himself with his father breathing down his neck most of the time. Tonight he again called for the rich to make donations, though his previous call for donations to charities had fallen upon his own ministers' deaf ears. That was only a few months ago. At that time, and till today, nobody seems to want to support him along his compassionate line, except the kind hearted Dr Lily Neo. Yet the show has to go on.

I really pity him. I think he is trying his very best for all of us. So, I would like to give him a chance. My only wish is that what he had said tonight would be properly implemented to the letter, instead of going the opposite direction again. As the saying goes: "Once bitten, twice shy." I dare not trust him again because four years ago, during his maiden speech as the new PM, he had promised us a more open society but his follow-up actions showed us exactly the opposite. So, how can I trust him again?

However, I will still give him a chance. Yes, a second chance to prove himself, to keep to his words. I hope he would keep to his words. I really do. Our future is in his hands. We have no one to turn to except him. We are depending solely upon him to fulfill our aspirations and to see to our interests. We have no choice. We have only one Leader, one PAP and one Government. We simply have no other choice. Our only choice is suffering in silence!

The Garuda - 19 Aug 2007


Anonymous said...

I did not listen to his speech, but I thought the newspapers said increase uni intake to 30%, not by 30%.

The Garuda. said...

You could be right.

However, the figure of 30% must be in relation to something. 30% of what?

Is it 30% of total population?
Is it 30% of eligible candidates?
Is it 30% of total university capacities?
Is it 30% of total existing number per intake to each university?

When the PM was talking about building a "4th university or may be more", that implies to me that there is going to be an increase in the capacity of university intake. So, I presumed that the 30% increase is regarding the total capacity of all universities taken together, including the new one that is coming up.

However, as I said, you could be right in the sense that it was published in the newspapers.

The Garuda.

Anonymous said...

Hi garuda, you noted that whence our PMs spoke on National Day Rally Speeches, a lot of goods were promised or at least planned. What followed after they made their(PMs) declarations(at National Day Rally) unfortunately mostly worked differently or even in opposite of their declared intentions. I must say that I too have noticed how their words failed to tally with their actions. On many occassions I even wrote to the MSM to remind them(the Authority) of discrepancies between their(leaders) words and their actions. Well they did response sometimes with so called standard replies which many including me would like very much to consider them as non-replies. Their(leadership) double-speaks(saying one thing and doing another) will ultimately win them much disrespects and if they(leaders) disregard the sentiments and observations of the masses, they(leaders) can be assured that they will totally lose the trusts and confidences of the people in no time. As it is, it is apparent that there is little respect left for them if we go by the curses, swears and condemnations taht we get to hear so easily and commonly. Time that they(leaders) win some respects even if they are not loved; from scb.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wonder if people know or remember that our political leaders are human after all.

In life give or take a bit la. Who don't want to have everything going great in life but is it like that in reality?

The Garuda. said...

Hi, Scb,

Thanks for spending time to make such a long comment. I see you have brought up 3 points.

1. That events turned out differently as promised by our leaders. Sometimes this cannot be helped because many factors are working either for or against a certain policy, either internally or internationally. Singapore is very vulnerable in the global stage because it lacks the depth and the critical mass to sustain itself. Therefore, it has to depend almost entirely on international trade, businesses and financial supports in order to survive. Therefore, we are at the mercy of big powers. When big powers sneeze, we catch the cold and all our plans simply go haywire. That is understandable. But what is not right is those things that are not subject to external influences have been deliberately changed into one direction while promising a different direction.

2. That your feedbacks to the press have not receive satisfactory answers. If you want to effect change, I suggest you to write to the feedback unit REACH instead of to the MSM, because when an official reply is openly published, it has to sound official and authoritative in order to safeguard the integrity of the establishment concerned. So, the wage-earner public relations officer would dare not say too many things in his/her reply to you. In order to protect his/her own rice-bowl, he/she simply try to play safe. Therefore, you get a standard bland reply, which is a non-committal reply. Thats why I never bother to write to the MSM.

3. That our leaders have lost the respect of many people. To a extent, yes they have lost some respect. But I think overall, as a whole, they are still commanding quite a lot of respect from locals as well as foreigners. Those comments you have read in the cyberspace represent a very small minority - not even 10% of our population.

4. That they had better learn to win back the respect. You are right. I think they have begun to realise this and are taking urgent actions to gain back the respect, especially from those educated people and our overseas students.

I hope I have answered your questions satisfactorily. Cheers!

The Garuda.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, all including any talent, elite, parliamentarian, cleaner and even beggar are human. None should think they are anything more than human or even special class of human such as talented supreme elite, the 'best' the country and the world can have. Worse are those that wish to be idolised, deify and manifest their wish to be worship in posterity, history. Apparently some are working very hard amongst themselves to have their wishes to be remembered due to their near expiries. I assure them that they will be remembered for a while, it is just a question of fond memories or haunting recalls. I thank the garuda and all from scb; an atheist.